Boston Scientific to Make India its Biggest R&D Hub

Marlborough MA-based  medical devices maker Boston Scientific Corp., plans to make India its biggest research and development location  outside the U.S. where it will develop devices such as stents, catheters and pacemakers at its Gurgaon facility for the Asia Pacific, Middle East and African markets, and roll them out by 2017.

“As one of seven strategic global R&D sites for Boston Scientific, the R&D center in India has the potential to be the largest outside of the U.S.,” said Prabal Chakraborty, vice president and managing director at Boston Scientific Company India Pvt.Ltd, the Indian unit of Boston Scientific.

SYNERGY Stent

SYNERGY Stent

The company  is seeking to expand its market share and increase sales through geographic expansion, especially in high-growth emerging markets such as India, with rising coronary angioplasties, reports the Live Mint.

“The R&D center will focus on developing products to meet the clinical needs in high-burden diseases specific to emerging markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions, and to serve as a global product engineering site,” Chakraborty said.

 

June 20, 2016   No Comments

Stryker Banks on India R&D to Accelerate Sales in Emerging Markets

Michigan-based medical device manufacturing company Stryker is increasingly relying on its research center based in Gurgaon near New Delhi for new products as it puts into motion an aggressive strategy to accelerate sales from emerging markets such as India and China, reports the Economic Times.

The company’s no frills power tool was conceptualized, designed and developed by the center, which employs 200 engineers and technologists. This tool is used for cutting, drilling and shaping bones during joint replacement and trauma procedures.

Stryker said the product, branded System G, is expected to be commercialized soon and that it will be positioned in the mid-tier segment of the market.

“Growth in emerging markets will be of strategic priority and India offers the most exciting opportunity among the BRIC nations,” Stryker chairman and CEO Kevin Lobo told the news publisher on his recent visit to India.

Kevin Lobo

Kevin Lobo

70% of Stryker’s global sales comes from the U.S. and Europe, and the company aims to increase the share of other emerging markets to its global sales from 8% at present to 12-14% over the next five years.

It will strive to drive sales of cutting-edge technology-based devices such as Mako, a robotic surgery device used for knee and hip replacement, in India. Its strategy includes plugging the gaps between the high-end, high-priced orthopedic products and the bottom end that is fed mostly by local device makers.

April 11, 2016   No Comments

Coca Cola Launches Flavored Milk in India

Coca Cola has expanded its beverage portfolio in India by the introduction of a milk-based flavored drink, VIO.

The drink has been developed specifically for the Indian palate at Coca-Cola India’s R&D center in Gurgaon with input from the R&D centers in Atlanta and Shanghai. Made from milk sourced from local dairy farmers, VIO has been formulated with a blend of saffron, pistachio and almond flavors in the ‘Kesar Treat and ‘Almond Delight’ variants. The product contains no preservatives and will be made available in 200 ml aseptic packaging reports Consumer Goods Technology.

VIO Flavored Milk

The company’s entry into dairy is its next growth prospect after sparkling water and juices. Its portfolio currently includes Maaza and Minute Maid juice drinks, Kinley packaged water, Schweppes tonics and mixers.

March 14, 2016   No Comments

Online Retailing in India Gathers Steam

The Economist reports that in the next 15 years India will see more people come online than any other country. Last year e-commerce sales were about $16 billion; by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley, a bank, the online retail market could be more than seven times larger. Such sales are expected to grow faster in India than in any other market.

Currently there are three top e-commerce companies in India: Amazon India, Flipkart, and Snapdeal.

Amazon India Flipkart Snapdeal
Executives Amit Agarwal Sachin Bansal; Binny Bansal Kunal Bahl
Investors .Jeff Bezos Naspers owns a 17% stake in Flipkart; other JD.com investors, including Tiger Global Management, in New York, and DST Global, a Russian fund, have also backed the company Japan’s SoftBank, a big investor in Alibaba, has backed Snapdeal since 2013
Share of Indian E-Commerce 12% 45% 26%
USP Amazon  lets customers order groceries online and have them delivered from the nearest local grocery store Uses Mumbai’s famous network of dabbawallas, or lunch-delivery men, to drop off packages when they picked up customers’ lunch tins Snapdeal claims more than 60% of its sales come from outside India’s big cities, and recently launched seven regional-language versions of its website

 

Indian regulations bar foreign-backed e-commerce firms from owning inventory, and so these companies function as marketplaces which try to boost the number of sellers on the their platform—it is the sellers, after all, who pay commissions and shipping fees.

So companies offer a range of services to draw businesses to their sites: Flipkart has programs to teach sellers how to manage peak sales during festive seasons in India; it also advises fashion brands on trends and production. Amazon India announced a traveling studio-on-wheels, offering training, photography and other services to help shop-owners come online.

By far the most important help they offer is access to credit since small business are not very actively supported by bank loans due to scarce financial statements and limited credit history.

Delivering online orders on a large scale can also be a challenge given the volumes of traffic and vague addresses. E-commerce companies have devised various methods of handling this integral part of the business. A startup named Delhivery headquartered in Gurgaon, has hired more than 15,000 staff, and works with a number of e-commerce firms. The company moves goods to 700 or so small distribution centers overnight to avoid slow-moving traffic on main roads during business hours. Thousands of delivery boys then dash to and from these centers throughout the day, bearing more than 10 pounds on their bikes.

Indian e-commerce has a lot going for it:

  • Income per person, which in 2014 was $1,570, could be twice that by 2025
  • Two-thirds of Indians are younger than 35, and very savvy in using smartphones
  • According to Goldman Sachs smartphones accounted for one in four Indian mobiles
  • Morgan Stanley expects internet penetration to rise from 32% in 2015 to 59% in 2020. By 2030, India is projected to be a one-billion-person digital market

March 7, 2016   No Comments

Emory Professor Sheth on the Changing Consumer Behavior in India

In an interview on the side lines of his talk at “Bridge Briefings”, a forum for dialogue between experts, industry and academia, thought leader and Charles H. Kellstadt professor of marketing at Goizueta Business School, Emory University, Dr. Jagdish Sheth spoke on Consumers and Consumption in the Digital Age at the BRIDGE School of Management, Gurgaon, India.

Live Mint published excerpts on Dr. Sheth’s views on the changing consumer, pressure points for retail, and the art of political marketing.

Dr. Jagdish Sheth

Dr. Jagdish Sheth

On the broad shifts in the buying behavior of consumers over the years:

  • Dr. Sheth said that consumption trends were moving from unbranded to branded products and hence becoming more individualistic since brand loyalties of different members of a family were different. He also observed that people in India had begun to live more and more like “room-mates in a family” where individualistic behavior was more the norm than doing the same things together as a family. This, he said, is a major change in Indian society.
  • He noted that the generation gap in India was now less than 8 years. “The older sister cannot relate to the younger sister in lifestyle and in values. The gap was very striking to me. It used to be about 20-25 years because we were living in a family. To me this whole notion of generation gap and the discontinuity from the previous generation is a massive change in India. The reality is that this is permanent,” he said.
  • Another interesting phenomenon he saw in India was that daily chores had become a hobby which led to a business. This paradigm shift allowed new opportunities in cooking and gardening for entrepreneurs. “I see that as a major change,” Sheth remarked.

These changes affected not only consumption but also the structure of the family. “I thought the change will be only among the educated, metro people. I see the change in second-tier and third-tier cities. Most of the young people are not interested in living with their parents. They pride their own personal freedom and independence more than family obligations or family bondage. It’s early stage, but over the next 10-15 years eventually you’ll have a shift from kinship to a friendship way of relationships,” Sheth predicted.

On change in how advertising impacts consumers:

  • “Advertisements have to be more and more on the user side and not on the buyer side. In marketing, we always promoted advertisements to the person who bought the product. Now, it’s about the users,” Sheth said. So if a product is targeted for children the advertisement should appeal to the child directly and not its parents.
  • The second shift in advertising is in media, Sheth continued. “While print in India will continue to stay strong because of vernacular languages, English media may become more digitized. Ultimately, Internet will take over as the primary medium.” The Internet not only has a wide reach, but it is a very rich medium where print, voice and video converge.

On the customer becoming homogeneous across markets:

  • In an increasingly digital world, the consumer is becoming homogeneous and heterogeneous, declared Sheth. The homogeneity is in terms of reaching them via social media. However, there’s a huge diversity in personalization of communication. “The key point is that I can now make communication so personalized to you because I know what you did yesterday and what you did an hour ago. So there is huge personalization on the one hand and commonality on the other,” he said.

On retail facing pressure points, and whether e-commerce was one of them:

  • Dr. Sheth said that e-commerce was definitely a pressure point in India due to the increasing affordability of smartphones. “My own view is that the person who will win the e-commerce game is the one who reaches the tier-II, tier-III and tier-IV towns. In a recent interview, the Amazon CEO said that 25% of all the people who bought things actually came from tier-IV cities. This means the divide between the small towns and big towns will go away, [to] which a bricks-and-mortar retailer cannot deliver. It is too expensive,” he noted.
  • However, he did not think that large retail organizations would be affected by e-commerce very adversely. “The neighborhood mom-and-pop guys who had multi-generational loyalty” will be the ones that will get phased out because young people don’t want to shop at the neighborhood store.

On how marketers should react to new payment systems like mobile wallets:

  • Dr. Sheth felt that mobile wallet payments systems will be much stronger in emerging economies because there were not as many credit cards available as in the west. And since these economies bypassed the personal computer evolution because of smartphones, they would bypass the bank credit/debit card evolution via the new payment systems. “Banks will jump in eventually with their own mobile wallets,” he said.
  • The key advantage of this payment system was that it transcended national boundaries. Cards issued by banks in India did not have global mobility of payment.  But mobile wallets are rising above these problems. “This is what we call the ‘Uberization’ of everything in life. Uber transcended all those issues. Wherever in the world there is Uber, I can take a cab and make a payment through a master account. I don’t haggle with the currency or the driver. Once it becomes so convenient, it becomes a necessity,” observed Dr. Sheth.

On the difference between political marketing and marketing of consumer products:

  • It is much more difficult to market to a product brand because is it an inert brand. Political marketing on the other hand is when an individual is marketed and hence becomes a live brand which reacts to encounters and interactions and therefore it is more fluid. It is much more difficult to manage what you call a personality brand.

“The other problem with personality brands is what you do in your other lives equally become relevant data points. Your private behavior and your public persona…no way you can keep the walls apart. But the advantage on the other hand is as a brand I can personalize it much faster—in real time almost. For instance, with a different crowd I can create multiple avatars of me. With a product, it is harder to do,” explained Dr. Sheth.

January 30, 2016   No Comments